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Peter Mayle

“Next to the defeated politician, the writer is the most vocal and inventive griper on earth. He sees hardship and unfairness wherever he looks. His agent doesn’t love him (enough). The blank sheet of paper is an enemy. The publisher is a cheapskate. The critic is a philistine. The public doesn’t understand him. His wife doesn’t understand him. The bartender doesn’t understand him.

These are only some of the common complaints of working writers, but I have yet to hear any of them bring up the most fundamental gripe of all: the lifelong, horrifying expense involved in getting out the words.

This may come as a surprise to many of you who assume that a writer’s equipment is limited to paper and pencils and a bottle of whiskey, and maybe one tweed sports coat for interviews. It goes far beyond that.

The problem from which all other problems spring is that writing takes up the time that could otherwise be spent earning a living. The most humble toiler on Wall Street makes more in a month than ninety percent of writers make in a year. A beggar on the street, seeing a writer shuffling toward him, will dig deep into his rags to see if he can spare a dime. . . .”


Peter Mayle, Acquired Tastes
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Acquired Tastes Acquired Tastes by Peter Mayle
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